Reporting Elder Abuse
Reports of elder adults (age 65 and older) and dependent adults (disabled adults aged 18 - 64) who are unable to meet their own needs or are victims of abuse, neglect or exploitation can be made as follows:
- To Your County Adult Protective Services (APS) agency. The Web site of the California Department of Social Services (CDSS) lists the county APS offices in all 58 counties. County APS agencies investigate reports of abuse of elders and dependent adults who live in private homes and hotels, or hospitals and health clinics, when the abuser is not a staff member. From the CDSS Web site, follow the "Report Abuse" link to find county APS information.
- To the Licensing and Certification Program of the California Department of Health Services (DHS). DHS Licensing and Certification oversees health facilities such as nursing homes. If you do not want to discuss the problem with anyone in the nursing home, and you believe the nursing home is not or has not protected your rights or the rights of others, you may call the Department of Health Services, Licensing and Certification District Office. The telephone number of the office should be posted in nursing homes and also listed in the "Licensing and Certification," "Nursing Home Residents Rights Fact Sheets" section of the DHS Web site.
- To the Long-Term Care Ombudsman's Office of the California Department of Aging or local Ombudsman Programs statewide. The Ombudsman handles reports of abuse that occur in a nursing home, a board and care home, a residential facility, or a long-term care facility. Local Ombudsman Program phone numbers are posted in care facilities and local and state program phone numbers are available at the Department of Aging Web site.
- To the California Attorney General Bureau of Medi-Cal Fraud and Elder Abuse, which works to protect patients from abuse or neglect in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities. To report elder abuse, contact the Attorney General's toll-free hotline at (800) 722-0432
- To any local law enforcement agency.
The California Department of Justice, in cooperation with AARP, has published the booklet, "A Citizen's Guide to Preventing and Reporting Elder Abuse," which provides helpful hints on how to detect the most common warning signs of physical, emotional and financial elder abuse and neglect in long-term care facilities.
The National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), funded by the U.S. Administration on Aging, is a gateway to resources on elder abuse, neglect, and exploitation. The center's Web site contains a comprehensive list of toll-free numbers for reporting domestic and institutional elder abuse and an information clearinghouse.